Mental Health in the Tech Sector and How to Help

The tech centre is known for being high pressured. The demand can be intense and not just at senior management levels. In the industry, 90% of tech staff have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and according to the OSMI Mental Health in Tech Survey, over 64% reported that mental health had negatively impacted on their work.

In this post, we’re going to explore the issue in more depth to try and find solutions to the issue of mental health in the tech sector.

The Heart of the Mental Health Crisis in the Tech Centre

Many in the tech centre look to work for the big five; Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook. Some go for startups where they can have an influential role. They are paid well but the demands on them are considerable and are offered incentives to work long hours.

Despite perks such as onsite gyms and catered meals, this constant grind takes a toll. Long hours and a lack of time off can destroy relationships compounding the problem. Ramping it all up are the tight deadlines and late nights. The need to complete work quickly is prevalent. It is easy to see why the mind crumbles.

Anxiety, depression, burnout, and isolation are all too common symptoms experienced by tech sector staff. And in lockdown all the issues were made ten times worse.

What made it worse was that mental health arguably still carries a stigma. Especially if you’ve got one eye on career progression. Nobody wants to be that guy and so the problem builds and builds.

The Solution to Mental Health Issues in the Tech Sector

Now we have explored the issues let’s try and find solutions. The following may help. Bear in mind that solutions should be tailored individually.

                1. Talk About it

It is important that as an employer you take the lead and start the conversation about mental health. This is something that rarely happens in the tech sector with less than two thirds of the OSMI survey respondents stating they would not be comfortable discussing mental health issues with their line manager.

Try creating safe spaces where employees can talk about issues freely.

                 2. Wellness Benefits

Some businesses have introduced wellness benefits in the tech sector space. This can include holiday time and ensuring employees use it, paid for counselling or counselling at a reduced cost.

Wellness benefits can also take the form of encouraging employee support groups (Sometimes called employee resource groups (ERG) where members talk about the issues they face and implement solutions to challenges.

                 3. Leadership

As with all issues it is solved from a top down approach. Managers should be trained in how to spot issues and take action before they become serious.

As well as managers lower level staff should also receive training and a culture of reporting should emerge. All staff should have the resources they need to provide constructive help.

It is in the interest of tech companies to address the mental health issues among their employees. Lost productivity costs companies severely and this can be avoided by helping tech sector employees take control of their mental health.

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